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Lecture on the 1777 Danbury Raid and The Battle of Ridgefield on February 9th

posted Jan 11, 2014, 11:27 AM by Julie Johnston   [ updated Jan 28, 2014, 5:34 PM by Margaret McIntire ]
Edward Hynes will present a lecture on the 1777 British invasion of Connecticut that included the raid on Danbury and the Battle of Ridgefield on Sunday, February 9 at 4:00 pm in the Darien Historical Society’s Scofield Barn, located at 45 Old Kings Highway North in Darien. A reception underwritten by Janet and Bruce Sargent will follow Mr. Hynes’ presentation in the Society’s Library.

The lecture and reception are free for members of Darien Historical and a $5 donation is suggested for non-members.

Hynes’ presentation begins with the spring of 1777 in New York City, where the Royal Governor of the Province, Major General William Tryon, was not a happy man.  In 1775 and 1776, the British had been mauled and forced to flee Boston and their commander, General Thomas Gage, had been sent home in disgrace.  In the summer and fall of 1776, British forces under Admiral Sir Richard Howe and General William Howe defeated General George Washington in the Battle of Brooklyn but somehow had failed to “close the deal,” allowing Washington to escape and humiliate the Hessians in Trenton.  This “rabble uprising” was clearly getting out of hand.

Tryon, who had previously put down significant colonial unrest as governor of North Carolina, was a man of action.  The rebels had supplies and lots of tents in Danbury, Connecticut, a colony with known loyalist sympathy.  He would lead a raid and seize what he needed but was determined not to repeat the mistakes of the Lexington and Concord Raid.  He demanded detailed military planning, 1,500 experienced troops, diversionary actions against Peekskill and most important, to be guided by the 300 man Royal and Honorary Prince of Wales Loyal American Volunteers, largely raised in Fairfield County. 

Speaker Ed Hynes

On April 25, 1777, Tryon’s forces landed on what is now Westport’s Compo Beach. As the British marched to Danbury the Patriots mustered their forces under the command of Major Gen. David Wooster and Brigadier Generals Benedict Arnold and Gold Selleck Silliman.  What happens next to the British on their four-day raid and to the Patriots in their attempt to deny them safe return to their ships is a white-knuckle story of the men fighting for their lives and their countries.

Ed Hynes first became interested in the Danbury Raid as a child when he learned that his neighbor’s house was partially burned by the British during the raid. He grew up in Wilton where he played football and lacrosse for the high school, graduated from George Washington University and spent most of his career in financial services as an equity analyst, institutional salesperson and trader. Ed presently works a Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch in Westport and lives in Norwalk. He and his wife are active in a number of community and civic organizations, including over 30 years of service to the National Dance Institute, the award winning arts education program founded by ballet legend Jacques d’Amboise, where Ed currently serves on its Board.